All posts tagged: Hrag Vartanian

Sneak Peek “Concrete to Data” at Steinberg Museum

Sneak Peek “Concrete to Data” at Steinberg Museum

Curator and artist Ryan Seslow has pulled off an overview of art on the streets and the practices employed, minus the drama. So much discussion of graffiti, Street Art, and public art practice can concentrate on lore and turf war, intersections with illegality, the nature of the “scene”, shades of xenophobia and class structures; all crucial for one’s understanding from a sociological/anthropological perspective.

“Concrete to Data”, opening this week at the Steinberg Museum of Art on Long Island, gives more of the spotlight to the historical methods and media that are used to disseminate a message, attempting to forecast about future ways of communicating that may effectively bridge the gap between the physical and the virtual.


Joe Iurato. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Seslow has assembled an impressive cross section of artists, practitioners, photographers, academics, theorists, and street culture observers over a five-decade span. Rather than overreaching to exhaustion, it can give a representative overview of how each are adding to this conversation, quickly presenting this genre’s complexity by primarily discussing its methods alone.

Here is a sneak peek of the the concrete (now transmitted digitally); a few of the pieces for the group exhibition that have gone up in the last week in the museum as the show is being installed.


Chris Stain. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Cake. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Lady Pink at work on her mural. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)


John Fekner. Detail of his stencils in place and ready to be sprayed on. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Henry Chalfant. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Billy Mode. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Oyama Enrico. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Col Wallnuts. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)


CONCRETE to DATA will be exhibited at the Steinberg Museum of Art, Brookville, NY January 26th 2015 – March 21st 2015.

Opening Reception – Friday, February 6th  2015 6PM -9 PM 

Follow the news and events via –

Follow @concretetodata on Instagram – #concretetodata

Curated by Ryan Seslow@ryanseslow

Museum Director – Barbara Appelgate

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Open Studios and the Street

Graff started on the street, I think.  Street art started in the studio.

Main difference. That was easy, right?

Now graff keeps going into the studio, the gallery, the museum.  And now we are watching as fine art, or some approximation of it, is continuallly leaving the home studio (kitchen table), gallery, collective, etc. and flooding the streets.  The explosion of street art is having it’s effect and the opinions it produces are as varied as, um, people.  The point is that the veil has been punctured, and the creative spirit is not willingly being confined today. Everything and everyone is becoming a hybrid.

Last weekend in a neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s home to a lot of variety at the moment – Bushwick –  a three day Bushwick Open Studios event took place, featuring over 200 open studios, live music, parties, workshops, panels, student art shows, puppet shows, the whole enchilada.  Don’t worry, it’s not all high-minded, or necessarily thought provoking. It’s just an indication of where we are moving. It’s impossible to see everything so you just have to pick and choose a few of your favorites and see which way the slimey wind leads you.

Started off at “2012” the new show at Factory Fresh featuring the work of graff/street art youth – the place was pretty young and sweaty and full of excitement, and parts of the inside looked like it could have been outside – plywood, tags, partial messages, and organized chaos.  Sorry for the crappy pics from the phone, but you get the idea.

A wall of 9"x9" wood pieces with work by Faro, Bloke and Avoid.

A wall of 9"x9" pieces by Faro, Bloke, and Avoid. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Faro, UFO, others that you may know at "2012" at Factory Fresh (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Faro, UFO, others that you may know at "2012" at Factory Fresh (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Bad Kids, Krink markers  (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Bad Kids, Erotic Kids, Charles Barkley, Krink markers (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Apple, Aiko, Anarchist, Arriviste, Artist, Avoid

A is for Apple, Abbreviation, Aiko, Anarchist, Arriviste, Artist? In this case, probably it's for Avoid (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Then Kings County Bar also hosted a show that night for ELC and their new collaborations, which were kind of hard to see because it was, uh, a dark bar.  Also there were other gyrating distractions that may have taken patron’s focus off their art show.  Included in the show were Royce Bannon, Anera, Infinity, Celso, Abe Lincoln Jr., Ad Deville, Dark Clouds, and Matt Siren.

A quick way to cut through a crowded bar

A quick way to cut through a crowded bar is to tiptoe across the top of it. (photo (cc) Hrag Vartanian)

Following a rainy Friday, the rest of weekend was nice. In fact, a new Bishop 203 appeared out of nowhere on this abandoned building, like an urban flower.

Bishop 203

Bishop 203 with a black heart (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Pocket Utopia had it’s last show this weekend, featuring a 16 foot tall fiberglass monster that dispensed beer in the back yard, a performance by artist/musician/dynamo Andrew Hurst in the basement that was viewable through a hole drilled in the floor, and this large scary portrait by Kevin Regan. You might recognize the revolutionary jowls. It’s not street art, per se, but certainly we’ve seen this king of photographic mutation on the street in the work of MBW, Judith Supine, Dain, Bast, and others.

Kevin Regan (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Kevin Regan at Pocket Utopia (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Speaking of Judith Supine, English Kills was showing a large piece by said street artist called “God of Mars”  Chris Harding, visionary owner of the space, explained that this is the biggest canvas Supine has ever done, and that numerology figured into it’s actual dimensions to bring good luck to the piece.

Chris points out a detail on the Judith Supine piece (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Chris points out a detail on the Judith Supine piece (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Large new canvass by Judith Supine "God of Mars" (courtesy English Kills)

Large new canvas by Judith Supine (courtesy English Kills)

Later, after too many beers, we stumbled into a salon of 20-something Illinois settlers (Illinois in the House!), a true sign of the everchanging makeup of the music and art scene. An appreciate audience of 50+ people were spread out over salvaged furniture (and one in a bathtub) to listen to old timey folk inspired singers and bands.

Rockin the autoharp, which is slightly older than wearing trucker caps

Rockin the autoharp, which is slightly older than wearing trucker caps (photo Steven P. Harrington)

While thumping house music from down the block and the occasional police siren wafted in the cracked 4th floor factory windows, singer-songwriters plucked on autoharp, glockenspiel, electric guitar, and a variety of hand held percussion instruments.  The really remarkable part was the lack of manic cell-phone snapping, texting, or Twittering among such an assembled group of youthful beauty during the performances. They appeared to be paying attention.  Is that even POSSIBLE?  Maybe this was a movie set. Or maybe Illinois artist-peeps are just more respectful.  I was going to try to get through this paragraph without mentioning Sufjan Stevens, but there, I’ve said it.  Baahhhhhhhhhh!

The tunes were folky, but she did say "f*ck" quite a few times in one song.

The tunes were folky and relationship-centric, but she did say "f*ck" a few times in one song, so that's what gives it the edge. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

So there you have it, one shard of a giant shattered crystal mirror that is Bushwick.  The torch is passed again to a new generation of weirdos and misfits to develop beauty.  Since most of the real estate developers are trying to hatch their stalled projects in Billyburg and lure in more “consumers”, maybe the recession has bought some time and the multi-feathered flock of “creatives” will continue to fly here for a while.  That way the nests will stay affordable, and the space aplenty.

The art on the street, naturally, has plenty to say on these and other matters…

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Enjoy Your Bailout!

Tiny Bubbles in the Wine, Make Me Feel Happy, Make Me Feel Fine…


It’s been a rapacious slide down this economic razorblade this past year, and despite the momentary uptick in “the numbers on the Street”, no one is saying we have hit the bottom yet.  Also what they are not saying, the hyper “experts” (with flying motion graphics, props, and multiple camera angles) is that the banks are the only ones doing fine (thanks to your taxes), while you lose your job, your house, your health insurance, your teeth, your wig, your favorite hanky, your reputation, your girlfriend, and finally, your mind.

Um, not to burst anyone’s bubble. So far, the streets are still open to public discourse:

photo by MSG

Whoops!  Where it is? (photo Steven P. Harrington)

enjoy subprime lending

photo by MSG

Free Free, Set them Free (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Free Free, set them Free (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Art:21 recently featured an insightful interview by Hrag Vartanian with the artist (or artist consortium, as the case may be) who have been smacking up ironic phrases in bloated shapes and 1980’s fonts all over the Lower East Side/Chinatown part of Manhattan, and now in parts of Brooklyn:

Hrag Vartanian: Is there something specific, other than the obvious economic meltdown, that triggered the EnjoyBanking campaign?

EnjoyBanking: You are partially correct—the financial meltdown is a direct catalyst for the campaign. However, the true heart of the campaign lies in responding to an underlying cause of the collapse: misinformation. Read the full interview here

While you wait for your bailout, ENJOY DON HO!

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Elusive Dain grants interview

Big ups to Brooklynite Gallery for getting this exclusive interview with Brooklyn street artist Dain, who has been rockin’ the starlet/portrait pasteups since before Swoon and Supine were playing with those little rounded kiddie scissors and Elmer’s glue, ya’ll.

Dudes’ been mixing wheatpaste since street artists had to make it out of mashed potatoes. This inside look at his home and studio reveals the process, the plain-spoken perspective, and it puts the pox on all those poseurs who are puttin up putrid pink powder-puff pusilanimy today.  Period.

Master Dain does iconic Audry. (copyright ) Charlie Cravero


Dain on Mulberry St.

Dain frequently draws upon images from his childhood. (photo credit: Noah Sussman)

Noah Sussman


Old Skool Dain from back in the day. (photo credit: Petroleum Jelliffe)

Petroleum Jelliffe

On Driggs

Brooklyn Dain goes hard. (photo credit: Hrag Vartanian)

Hrag Vartanian

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First Splash from the “Street Crush” show

A Kisser-Packed Spectacular

Martha Cooper “Next I caught the L out to Greenpoint where Alphabeta was having a very cool (or should I say hot?) Valentine’s bash complete with a Kissing Booth and Strippers.”

Hrag Vartanian “Nothing like a blindfolded burlesque dancer twirling a hola-hoop in front of a wigless drag queen..

It’s kind of hard not to have fun when you are surrounded by art, artist, homies, kissers, and ladies with sequined tassles hanging from the ceiling.

Fun Valen-Times, a perfect street art/ graffitti marriage, and a mash-up of cultural influences swirling around that may not have happened since chocolate met peanut butter. No time to go into it all right now so here’s a few pics to sate your appetite.

But it is never too early to express a heartfelt Thank You to all the street artists, the burlesque performers, the djs, the projectionists, the electronic drummers, the kissing booth builder, the Kisser volunteers, and the family of Alphabeta.

Aiko (Detail)

"Girls Can Play" by Aiko (Detail)


Kissing Booth Happy; The show reflected in Jess's smile.

"Girl With No Thumbs" (Detail) by Broken Crow

"The Girl with No Thumbs" (Detail) by Broken Crow

Nasty Canasta and Mimi the Clown (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Nasty Canasta and Mimi the Clown (photo Steven P. Harrington)

"Wild In the Street" (detail) by Jef Aerosol

"Wild in the Streets" (detail) by Jef Aerosol


Kissing Booth Fun


Tigger! and Madame Voulez-Vous debate the necessity of clothing.


"Sex Sells" (detail) by Royce Bannon


Harvest Moon flies above the crowd (photo by Kat)


"Mam'zlle de mon reve!!" (detail) by Titi from Paris


What did he just say? I can't look, but I can't stop staring.


Clams Casino Elegance

The gallery is open till the 28th!

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